Fungal Meningitis Outbreak: 91 Sick, 7 Dead

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The Associated Press reports that there are now at least 91 confirmed cases of a rare and deadly fungal meningitis in the United States, up from 47 on Saturday.

Seven people have died of the illness, two of them between Friday and Saturday, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The meningitis outbreak has been linked to a steroid injection commonly used to treat chronic back pain.

The drug was made by New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., which has issued a recall for all products. The drug had been shipped to numerous locations, including two Idaho clinics.

According to the CDC, fungal meningitis can develop “after a fungus spreads through the bloodstream from somewhere else in the body” to the spinal cord.

Common symptoms include a stiff neck, fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light, and even an altered mental state. It can take up to six weeks after someone has received a contaminated injection for symptoms to appear. Meningitis can be fatal, and is especially dangerous for people who have weak immune systems, including those with AIDS or cancer.

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